If you rented games back in the day, chances are there’s one you hired multiple times. For me, it was Capcom’s Goof Troop for the SNES. It played quite differently from other Disney games, using a top-down perspective, and it featured a jaunty musical score. It was reasonably challenging too, hence why it was rented more than once. I’ve always hoped that it would receive a re-release on a compilation, but so far that hasn’t happened.
Good news if you also enjoyed this lesser-known Disney romp – Dandy & Randy DX plays like a spiritual successor, right down to being equally family-friendly.
Anthropomorphic animal duo Dandy and Randy – later joined by Sally and Molly, bringing to playable character total up to four – are in a spot of financial trouble. After a leaflet falls into their hands pinpointing a location filled with great riches, they travel to a cluster of islands by biplane. Not only does their arrival rile up the local pirate community, but it also transpires another party is on the hunt for treasure. Cue the crossing of paths. And where did this leaflet originate from, exactly?
What we have here is a cutesy, non-violent, affair with 8-bit style visuals and a delightfully upbeat authentic-sounding chiptune soundtrack. We imagine it’s meant to mimic the look and feel of a NES game, but we’d argue the Master System is a closer comparison due to the brightness of the visuals – a lot of bold colours are used throughout; not the colour palette you’d associate with the NES.
Rather than scrolling freely you move from screen to screen, a la the original Zelda and Zelda III, while the character sprites are curiously smaller than usual for a game of this type.
Our heroes carry no weapons. Instead, items have to be picked up and thrown at enemies. On some screens there are precisely the same amount of throwable items as there are enemies, meaning you must make every throw count or face having to skirt around whoever’s left standing. When combined with puzzle-solving, this makes Dandy & Randy DX instantly engaging.
Each island – spread across grass, snow, desert, spooky forest, and lava-filled realms – has four coloured keys to find, eventually leading to a boss confrontation. Bosses generally take 2-3 attempts, although if you’ve paid attention to NPCs and learned their weak point, you may be able to beat them on your first try. Failure is a little frustrating as you’re cast back to the start of the island and must trek back to the boss, potentially losing valuable health points along the way.
A shop is at hand to recover health, but the prices are rather extortionate – we weren’t able to purchase an extra health container until after the halfway mark. Upon death, half your loot is lost, but it can be recovered by returning to where you died – a considerably modern touch.
Every island also has a tool to find, used to progress while also adding more depth to puzzle solving. The hook shot also makes getting around a lot quicker, with some sneaky shortcuts available for those willing to experiment.
The puzzles themselves aren’t too tricky, mostly being of the block shoving and switch flicking variety. Indeed, older gamers won’t find much to challenge themselves here. The upshot of this – coupled with the ability to play two-player – makes this an ideal game for parents looking for something new to play with their youngsters. It’s quite humorous, too.
Another thing to bear in mind is the game’s length – each island takes around 30 mins to complete, resulting in a runtime of around 3 hours. This definitely would have been a one-time rental back in 1993. There isn’t much of a reason to return for a second play, with all achievements unlocking on a single playthrough. Given the £6 price tag, though, the shortness isn’t too damaging overall.
If you remember those halcyon days of simple yet pleasing Disney games, this comes recommended. Scrooge McDuck would approve – especially at this price.
Asteristic Game Studio’s Dandy & Randy DX is out now on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.